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Hello From An Agnostic/atheist


NiteWatchman
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Hello. I'm new to your forum. I sought out this site because I saw a video with John Spong and was impressed with his message. If there is a god/deity/life source then Bishop Sprong's comments seemed to hit the nail on the head. I believe that the traditional teachings of Christianity that I was force fed as a child are not accurate. If there is a god, then he/she/it has to be much bigger than any one of the boxes that the world's religions have limited our understanding. On a side note. I'm not here to debate the existence or non-existence of god. I'm certain that the god I was taught to believe in for so many years does not exist. The important issue is not whether one believes in god/Jesus, but rather how to live a life of compassion, kindness, charity, and love like Jesus. I think that is what's missing from most of Christianity today; they focus on believing in Jesus rather than teaching to live like him. It doesn't matter if Jesus existed or not, the calling is to live life with a higher degree of self-actualization. I'm looking forward to conversing with intelligent thinking Christians, rather than the irrational lot that normally preach and quote their book to me. Lol.

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Welcome NiteWatchman,

 

This site welcomes anybody who is respectful of other people's beliefs, even those who believe there is no God!

 

I myself am a fence sitter - I was raised fundamental Christian but those beliefs rapidly fell apart when I joined the police force at 18 and was exposed to a side of humanity I had never experienced. Since then I have been, well I don't know exactly what I have been. At first I was angry with God, then I said I didn't believe in God but thought there might be something spiritual to our lives. A few years ago (20 or so years after I rejected my Christian upbringing) I went through a bit of anxiety started by this global financial crisis, and at a weak moment a friend reintroduced my Christianity of old and I experienced 9 months of absolute Hell, questioning if I was headed for there. Yet I still couldn't change what I believed (or didn't believe more to the point).

 

During this process I discovered the likes of Spong, Borg, and this website, which reignited my curiosity about there being something spiritual to our lives, but not the God I had been brought up to believe in (I can honestly say that God makes no sense to me).

 

I am still agnostic/atheist, but I do think that a lot of what Jesus is attributed as saying as a way to lead one's life, does make sense (as do the teachings of many others greats). Spong's saying of 'living full & loving wastefully' makes so much more sense that admitting you're a dirty rotten sinner who needs to be forgiven by accepting Jesus' blood as a sacrifice and if you don't then it's off to eternal torment for you! I too also wonder about the driving force for life - as Spong also talks about - there is something that makes all life try to 'live'. Maybe that is God?

 

Like you, I think life should be more about how you live it, not what you believe just to ensure that when you die you go to a better place. I think if the focus was more on making THIS a better place, then there literally could be a Heaven on earth or dare I say as Jesus had suggested, the Kingdom of God could be here, now.

 

Anyway, it's you're introduction that I am hijacking here. Welcome, and I look forward to your participation and discussion of topics.

 

Cheers

Paul

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Welcome Nightwatchman,

 

Thanks for the introduction. I think you will fit in quite well here. As you allude to in your post, behavior is more important than beliefs. Looking past the words that are spoken to actions and sometimes even beyond that i think helps us to realize our humanity and that which is greater and always present.

 

Again, welcome,

Joseph

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Paul,

 

No worries about hijacking anything. I enjoyed reading your post. Sounds like we've both had some rather similar experiences. I was raised in a very strict denomination of Christianity that taught that EVERY other religion and even every other Christian denomination was "wrong" and therefore "those" people were all going to hell. WOW!?!? Really??? The church that I was raised in thought the Boys Scouts of America was too radical because of their inclusion of other religions, so they had their own version of scouting. I remember as a kid being asked to come up with a Bible lesson for my peers in that scouting group. I must have been 8? or 10? year-old? I used a road map, pointed to a city on the map, pointed to all of the major roads that lead into the city and compared that to Heaven; saying that there are many roads to choose from but they all lead to the same destination, like the many roads that lead to "God." I got in so much trouble for that! Because I dared suggest that one little denomination of Christianity wasn't the ONLY way to God, I got kicked out of their scouting program. LOL

 

I cannot explain why, but I've always had this desire to truly understand "God." I rejected my parent's religion at the age of 13. I researched, studied, dabbled in many spiritual and religious beliefs since then. I've studied WICCA for a time, I was also a member of a "New Age" spirituality meditation group for awhile. I've even had a Saul/Paul falling off his donkey, road to Damascas, born again experience in a modern worship music, Holy Ghost, Holy-roller, tounge-speaking, radical Christian church! I can say without a doubt that all of my studies and all of my experiences had "something" there but was missing something, too. I can't really put into words what that something is.

 

Hence, why I identify with agnostic. There may be "something." There might be "something." There seems like there should be "something." But I'm pretty sure that whatever that something is goes beyond description. Our religions are merely our best attempts at describing that something. There is no empirical proof for the existance of that "something." Therefore, I identify with atheism. Not because I can say without a doubt that there is no "God." I'm just pretty sure that there is no ONE religion, or philosophy that has ALL of the answers. I reject the anthropomorphic view of God that most traditional teachings tend to promote. The multitude of descriptions of God and the multitude of different Gods that humanity has created over time are merely ways to tell a moral story, or describe that "something."

 

I've only seen one of John Spong's videos on YouTube, but what he said in that video was pretty much exactly what I've been thinking for many years now. You mentioned his view that, "there is something that makes all life try to 'live'. Maybe that is God?" BINGO! I think that is what I've been trying to put into words. I think I need to watch more of his videos or maybe read some of what he has written.

 

Sorry! Probably WAY TOO DEEP for an introduction. LOL

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Welcome Nightwatchman,

 

Thanks for the introduction. I think you will fit in quite well here. As you allude to in your post, behavior is more important than beliefs. Looking past the words that are spoken to actions and sometimes even beyond that i think helps us to realize our humanity and that which is greater and always present.

 

Again, welcome,

Joseph

 

Thanks for the welcome, Joseph. I think that the only "sin" is to sin against our fellow human, so YES, getting beyond the belief and to action seems to be what every moral story or religion is really all about.

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Not too deep, NiteWatchman, in fact very interesting. I'm probably more aligned with your thoughts than we both identify. I too 'think' that there may be 'something to all this' but don't know/have the missing piece. That doesn't concern me too much, I just find it interesting.

 

I am much better at describing what I don't believe than capturing what I do. I rest easy these days knowing that really this has been an ongoing journey for humankind, and it is yet to be conclusively settled. I think that says something.

 

I do believe others here and elsewhere have had genuine experiences which they call God. I just don't know what that means for me. Que sera sera.

 

Cheers

Paul

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NiteWatchman, I like your name and introduction. Sounds like you are deep thinker and will add to the discussions. I am facinated with the new physics especially M theory, Unitive Theory. I feel it is another way to explain GOD to transform my mind beyond the mind. You should fit right in here.

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NiteWatchman, I like your name and introduction. Sounds like you are deep thinker and will add to the discussions. I am facinated with the new physics especially M theory, Unitive Theory. I feel it is another way to explain GOD to transform my mind beyond the mind. You should fit right in here.

 

Thank you soma. I'm a big fan of Brave New World so I recognize soma as being, "All of the benefits of Christianity and alcohol without their defects." You have given me two new things to Google; M theory, and Unitive Theory.

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